Ryan Lavner files an excellent GolfChannel.com piece on Stanford's Maverick McNealy taking a brief golf reprieve after winning three of four fall events. That brings him within two individual titles of the school record held by Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers, leading to national intrigue for a measely school mark. There is also McNealy's assertion he might not turn pro after college, giving hope to what's left of that weird societal subset viewing the act of choosing to remain an amateur golfer on par with curing cancer and rescuing dogs from burning buildings.
Regarding McNealy's incredible summer and continued great play in the fall, Lavner writes.
How McNealy has been able to summon the goods while teetering on the edge of burnout can be traced back to smart preparation and an extensive journal that documents every practice session, round, tournament and year.
One entry in particular stands out, from his first fall tournament last year.
In the lead for the first time in his career, McNealy realized he had 2 ½ hours to kill before his final-round tee time. He can eat only so many breakfasts, and hit so many balls, so he developed a stretching routine that he has used ever since. For a half hour, in the hotel room or in the locker room, McNealy throws on his headphones and listens to music that slows down his internal tempo.
During that quiet time, he puts the next few hours in perspective: What do I need to do today? What does this round mean to me? Who am I playing for? The answer to the last question, always, is his teammates.
“It feels like everything slows down in my mind,” he said. “Physically, it feels like I’m getting ready for somebody to punch me in the stomach. There’s a tense feeling. And then there’s an intense focus on the target.”